The Next Supreme Court Justice?


  • Thomas Goldstein
Publish Date:
December 20, 2007
Publication Title:
Daily Journal, December 20, 2007
Op-Ed or Opinion Piece
  • Tom Goldstein, The Next Supreme Court Justice? Daily Journal, December 20, 2007.
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Thomas Goldstein, who co-teaches the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, makes a few predictions about Supreme Court nominations, based on who wins the next presidential election. Among the High Court contenders, he includes Professor and former Dean Kathleen Sullivan:

What about later seats? I expect a second woman will be appointed to bring the court more into gender balance, particularly if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. For that seat, she could turn to three candidates regarded as genuine intellectual heavyweights – Judge Diane Wood of the 7th Circuit, Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, and former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan. If Barack Obama prevails instead, it would not be surprising to see a second African-American named to the court, perhaps Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah Ward Sears, or, if the seat opens up after his term ends in 2011, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

A Republican president would face a much greater dilemma than a Democrat for two reasons. First, the Senate is likely to be controlled by Democrats for quite some time, which will virtually require a moderate nominee in order to obtain confirmation. Second, movement conservatives will see the appointment – likely of the successor to Justice Stevens, who is the leader of the left on the court – as a defining moment in the nation’s judicial history, because it will present the opportunity to create the first working conservative majority in the modern era.